Yes, you can sublimate on your silicone products at home with the help of technologies like printers & heat pressure. Silicone’s lack of polymer presence makes it harder to get a sublimated design. It will require a lower temperature and longer pressing time to print your design. Along with this, you need expertise and sheer dedication to get an adequate result.
We will provide you with bit-by-bit guidance on how to sublimate on silicone. Follow the instructions and flex with your design.
In this article, you’ll find:
- This article includes a detailed discussion on how to sublimate on silicone products
- There are several factors like material type, design size, and placement, equipment & technique that affect sublimating on silicone
- You will also face some challenges while sublimating on silicone
- Some alternative ways of sublimating to design your silicone products
Is It Possible to Sublimate on Silicone?
Yes, you can sublimate your desired design on a silicone surface. However, your answer doesn’t end there. The basic features of silicone products make it trickier to sublimate.
- Silicone products are often curved & flexible and come in a variety of colors.
- The synthetic hinders the silicone from absorbing the ink easily.
- Silicone’s high heat resistance makes it difficult to bond with ink.
However, there’s always a way around this obstruction. That’s why there are a handful of silicone products like Apple watchbands, wristbands, and phone-cases that are getting sublimated.
How to Sublimate on Silicone?
Unlike other polymer-coated surfaces, it’s a little bit difficult to sublimate on silicone. However, to sublimate your desired design on silicone, you’ll need some tools and a guide to get through the process.
Before getting your hand on the project you consider some factors. Make sure you have ticked all the boxes.
Factors You Need to Consider Before Sublimating:
These factors play a vital role in how your design turns out after sublimating on a silicone surface.
Material Type: Not every silicone product is sublimation-friendly. It is possible for some surfaces to have a coating that prevents the ink from bonding to the surface. It’s best to test a small surface before sublimating the whole product.
Color of the Band: The color of the surface can influence the outcome of sublimation. White or light-colored surfaces are best for presenting the ink more vividly. You should use a white base layer on a darker surface to make the design visible.
Design Size and Placement: It is essential to consider the size and positioning of the design while designing a silicone band. Silicone products are often curved or textured, so intricate designs or small text may not transfer well.
Equipment & Technique: To sublimate on silicone, you need A-SUB Silicone Paper, Hiipoo Sublimation Ink, & Realkant Sublimation Blanks. When sublimating on silicone, it’s also critical to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Focus on these things to get the best result.
To sublimate the desired design on your silicone product you need some necessary equipment. Here are some best products you need for your project.
|A-SUB Silicone Paper||11X17 Inches98% Ultra High transfer rate|
|Hiipoo Sublimation Ink||2x140ml Black,100ml Cyan,100ml Magenta,100ml YellowPage Yield 6500|
|Realkant Sublimation Blanks Tumblers Silicone Bands Kit||Skinny Straight Cups with Heat ResistantGloves Tape Sleeve Accessories for Cricut MugPress the Machine Wrap Bundle Tumbler in the Oven|
There are also several preventive measures you need to keep in your mind.
- Always use heat-resistant gloves while using the heat pressure.
- Balance the pressure and temperature while working on silicon. Unlike heat pressing on nylons, Don’t press it too long at high temperatures.
- Don’t rush through the project, take your time to get the best result.
- Use a hassle-free, calm workspace for the project.
Now let’s get to business. We’ll lead you through the steps necessary to complete the job.
Step 1: Prepare the silicone blank
First, you need to clean your silicone product’s surface. Use warm water and some detergent and scrub it with a lint-free cloth to clean any kind of dirt. Focus on any crevices or grooves on the surface. Choose your workplace carefully, you need to keep the products clean for the whole project.
Alcohol can also be used to rub the substance. Test your surface on a small scale to get the best idea for the whole surface.
Step 2: Print the design
Choose your desired design and prepare it to print. Just like converting to DTF printing, you need to find a printer that is compatible with sublimation ink. Use your printer and set the correct cartridge. Before inserting the paper. Print the design in reverse on the sublimation paper.
Get a position on your silicone product and cut the print according to the shape & size of the product.
Step 3: Transfer the design
Now face down the print on your selected position. Use heat-resistant gloves and tape to hold the paper. Get your heat pressure and heat it to 375° Fahrenheit.
Now put it under pressure to transfer the design from paper to silicone. After closing the heat pressure, wait a few minutes.
Step 4: Get the product
After completing the transfer, carefully bring it out. Remember to use gloves all the time while handling this heated stuff.
Allow it to cool at room temperature and take your time chilling it. The design will be set on the surface through this process. Peel the sublimation paper after cooling it down.
Let it cool down for a few minutes again. You can repeat the process for other products while this one is ready. Once complete the project you will get an aesthetic band or phone case to flex it off.
What Challenges Might You Face While Sublimating On Silicone?
Some technical difficulties can make sublimation on silicone tough. The challenges you might face:
- Non-porous surface: Silicone’s non-porous surface doesn’t let it absorb other substances easily. Sublimation ink needs a porous surface to get through and bond with the material. But silicone’s non-porous nature obstructs this process.
- Heat resistance: Silicone is highly heat-resistant, which makes it difficult for sublimating ink to adhere to its surface. The ink needs a specific temperature range(380°F-400°F) to transform a solid into a gas. But silicone’s high heat resistance makes the transformation difficult.
- Flexibility: Silicone is a malleable substance that can be stretched and bent. When the silicone surface is bent, it is possible for the ink to break or peel. That’s why it’s a challenging process to sublimate on silicone.
Alternative Methods To Sublimate On Silicone
Even if you’re unable to sublimate on silicon, don’t get disheartened. Here are some other options for getting your chosen design on silicone items.
|Feature||Screen Printing||Pad Printing||Direct Printing|
|Process||A mesh screen is used to transfer ink on a silicone surface.||Transfers ink from an etched plate to a silicone surface using a silicone pad.||Specialized inks and printers designed to cling to silicone surfaces are used.|
|Suitability||Suitable for large designs||Suitable for complex designs||Provides increased design freedom.|
|Adhesion||Offers good adhesion||Offers excellent adhesion||May require additional curing or post-processing steps|
|Additional steps||May require curing||None||May require curing or post-processing|
|Cost||Low to medium||Medium to high||High|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What Materials Can You Not Sublimate on?
Fabrics like cotton that are made from natural fibers are not compatible with sublimation. Cotton can’t bond with sublimation ink because of its lack of polyester. Additionally, dark fabrics are also not suitable for sublimation.
Does Sublimation Fade in Sunlight?
Yes, sublimation may fade if exposed to the sun for an extended period. Even though sublimated products look fantastic in the presence of light, it has longevity.
Is Silicone Safe Under Heat?
Yes, for everyday work life, silicone has enough heat resistance. However, it starts to degrade after passing 428 degrees Fahrenheit For this reason, silicone is used in cookware handles.
From now on, you don’t have to go to technicians to sublimate your silicone product. Use your tools to get superior-quality sublimated silicone bands or phone cases in your home. Please let us know if you have any problems when using our approach.